AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn
The Chicago Bears and wide receiver Allen Robinson reportedly aren’t close to reaching an agreement on a long-term contract prior to Thursday’s deadline for franchise-tagged players.
During an appearance on SportsCenter on Sunday, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler said discussions between the Bears and Robinson have been “pretty slow” and there “has not been much momentum.”
Fowler noted there is a “decent chance” Robinson will play out the 2021 season on the franchise tag with the goal of putting up big numbers so he can “smash” free agency in 2022.
The 27-year-old Robinson is set to enter his fourth season with the Bears, and he is coming off back-to-back campaigns with over 1,100 yards.
After recording 98 catches for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019, he followed it up with 102 grabs for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns last season as the Bears’ unquestioned top wideout.
Making his production even more impressive last season was the fact that he did it with less-than-stellar quarterback play from Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.
This season, Robinson is likely to start off with veteran Andy Dalton as his quarterback, although it may not take long for 2021 No. 11 overall pick Justin Fields to seize the starting job.
Fields is the Bears’ quarterback of the future, and it stands to reason that Chicago’s front office would like to give him every opportunity to succeed. Signing Robinson to a long-term deal would essentially be an investment in Fields as well.
Aside from Robinson, the Bears’ leading pass-catcher among wide receivers last season was Darnell Mooney, who finished with 61 catches for 631 yards and four touchdowns. He was followed by Anthony Miller with 49 receptions for 485 yards and two scores.
The Bears did little to address the wide receiver position this offseason aside from signing Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin.
Byrd had 47 receptions for 604 yards and one touchdown with the New England Patriots last season, while Goodwin didn’t play.
The Bears have no clear succession plan in place for a No. 1 receiver after Robinson, giving them even more incentive to sign him to a long-term deal.
If they are unable to reach an agreement before Thursday’s deadline, Robinson could be a prime trade candidate during the season provided Chicago isn’t in the hunt at the trade deadline.